This time Ward may have allowed speculation to carry him farther than most readers will be willing to go.
The problem won't be the writing or the subject matter. Ward's narrative skills are a strong as ever. His readers accept that human activity has increased atmospheric carbon dioxide and, consequently, has set the planet on a path toward a very different climate.
They understand that the greatest and least predictable effect will be the melting of the polar ice sheets and the consequent rise in sea level.
They will also accept his scientific argument that looking at the geological record can shed light on the likely consequences of a rapid rise in CO2.
So they will accept his main premise: "The greatest single scientific question--and for our society, a question of life or death--is how far and how fast the seas will rise.... It doesn't take much of a change in climate conditions to edge us from manageability into catastrophe."
The problem is likely to be the way Ward chooses to describe that catastrophe. He presents a series of speculative vignettes of life at various low-lying locations from Miami to Venice to the Netherlands to Bangladesh, as the level of atmospheric CO2 and the oceans rise. Implicit in this future history is that "the very nature of politicians and the people they serve mitigates ... proactive response to climate change."
Imagination, illusion, and humor are just a few of the human traits and abilities that, according to Schulz, are intimately connected with being wrong. Without flubs, missteps, gaffes, blunders, illusions, misperceptions, misapprehensions, and clinging to mistaken beliefs (until we correctly or incorrectly believe otherwise), we would not truly be human.You won't go wrong giving this book a try.
Readers will find tasty tidbits in every chapter. One striking insight is that "we can't talk about error in the first person present tense. The moment in which we can logically say 'I am wrong' simply doesn't exist; in becoming aware that a belief is false, we simultaneously cease to believe it."